TOA/V: Burn, Witch, Burn!

BURN, WITCH, BURN (AKA Night of the Eagle) 1961
Directed by Sidney Hayers
Screenplay by Charles Beaumont/Richard Matheson/George Baxt
Based on Conjure Wife by Fritz Leiber
Starring Peter Wyngarde, Janet Blair, Margaret Johnston, Anthony Nicholls, Colin Gordon

This is a fairly good adaptation of Leiber’s Conjure Wife (a brilliant little novel if you’ve not read it), dramatically retitled for American release complete with exclamation point. Snooty psychology professor studies superstitious beliefs with condescending rationality — until he discovers that his wife Tansy has been working magic to build his career. Well, if there’s one thing a guy like him hates more than magic, it’s the idea that his wife might be responsible for his success.

So he makes her burn all her workings and talismans and what do you know? Things start going badly for them both. Seems there’s a rival whose wife also uses magic…

This is a fun film that didn’t get near enough attention on its release (or since really). I love the mixture of academia and magic — obviously one of the things in the cauldron of my mind that helped conjure Satan’s Sorority.

See all the overlooked gems at Todd’s blog.

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6 thoughts on “TOA/V: Burn, Witch, Burn!

  1. The film, despite some serious literary talent working on the adaptation (Charles Beaumont, Richard Matheson and George Baxt) and a fine cast, doesn’t Quite come up to the novel (but does so much better than the other two adaptations, WEIRD WOMAN and WITCHES’ BREW), but it’s a very good try…and anyone who loves the novel should also know about the short story with Saylor, who’s a sort of analog for Leiber himself, “Rump-Titty-Titty-TAH-Tee”…

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